Thursday, April 14, 2016

Can't get to the Great Barrier Reef? Bring it to you!

Okay, maybe not the Great Barrier Reef, but a coral reef, nonetheless, at least a tiny slice of one. Yup. That's my hobby, my one and only hobby that time allows. I'm a Reefer. (No, not that kind of reefer!).  I maintain a 54 gallon Coral Reef in my writing room. Yes, I have a room in my home which is my office and where I probably spend 10 hours a day when I'm not watching my grandkids.

If you follow my writing at all, you know I have an infatuation with the sea. I was raised in South Florida where I spent as much time as possible at the beach. It was there that I dreamt of pirates and of sailing away on tall ship adventures. I loved snorkling in the warm waters and looking at all the fish. Now, I live in Northern California where the beaches are rocky and cold and the water flows down from Alaska. All very gorgeous, mind you, but not condusive to swimming and there certainly aren't any coral reefs.

Keeping a coral reef tank is a challenge. The complexity of maintaining optimal conditions for sensitive corals to not only survive but thrive is far and above any normal aquarium keeping.  Proper levels of salinity, calcium, ammonia, nitrate and nitrites, ph, phosphate and other chemicals must be maintained, not to mention proper lighting, water quality (you can only use RO or Distilled water) and temperature. If one or more of these things is off even slightly, the corals die.  But if done properly, a reef tank can eventually be quite gorgeous.  You can not only keep corals, but shrimp, anemones, crabs, clams, starfish, and even some beautiful coral reef fish.  Once a reef is set up, it takes years for the corals to actually grow and start to cover the rocks.  

First, let me show you how beautiful a coral reef tank can be. (No, this isn't mine)



Now, here's a few pictures of my tank. It's a new tank. I just set it up 4 or 5 months ago so it's still "cycling" and settling into the right water quality and the correct compounds. That's why you'll see some brown algae growing here and there.  Soon, I hope to add a few more fish and another coral but I wanted it to stablize first.






I'm not quite there yet, obviously.  Still how wonderful to have it here in the room where I spend so much time. It's so relaxing and makes me think of the sea.

 Now that I've shared my hobby, what about you? What hobbies do you enjoy?


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7 comments:

  1. I would love to have a coral reef tank! I don't have much time for hobbies but when I do I either knit it throw mud on s wheel and see what I can make.

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    1. I wish I could knit! It looks so relaxing! But I'm terrible at things like that.

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  2. That is a huge dream of mine. I grew up doing fresh water fish tanks. At one point I had 6 going! Now I only have one, but my family is busy at this point. Hopefully someday I can have more going again.
    Thanks for sharing the cool pictures! I bet it is so relaxing being in that room.

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    1. I thought the reef tank would take a lot of my time, but it actually doesn't once I got it set up. I would say I spend an hour on it every week. You should go for it!

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  3. Love fish tanks - yours is beautiful already, MaryLu!! They are so relaxing but the attraction is even stronger for you I know, considering your love of the sea and your writing subjects. Just wondering how frequently your tank has to be maintained and whether you can go on vacation without securing someone to maintain it while you are away?? Thanks for sharing, love seeing pics of your tank!!

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    1. I spend about an hour each week. It's not that much time. Maybe a total of 5 or 6 hours a month. It runs mostly by itself and I only need hubby to feed the fish and replenish the evaporated water while I'm gone. :-)

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  4. You're infatuated with the sea? Go figure...LOL
    You know my hobby....your reef is coming along nicely. I'm hoping to get a fish tank someday. Nothing as big as yours, just a small tank for the grandchildren to enjoy.

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